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Choir to perform before Democratic debate

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When Nathaniel Eubanks, director of Marquette’s gospel choir, was asked if his group could perform at the Democratic pre-debate show on Thursday, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“The senior director of PBS actually called my cell phone,” Eubanks said. “I don’t know how she got it, but they saw a couple videos on YouTube and they wanted us.”

The debate will be held at UW-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader Concert Hall. Eubanks is only allowed to bring 12 students to perform due to the limited space on stage, which he said was a very difficult decision to make, as the choir contains around 30 students.

Eubanks received the phone call last Thursday and said there has been a whirlwind of emails, phone calls and even contact from Secret Service since then. The choir will be singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

“It’s a song that can lift the spirits of the people and get everyone to a neutral place to just smile and say ‘I’m thankful just to be here,’” Eubanks said.

The choir rehearses every Monday for about three hours. Eubanks said the only focus this week was on the debate in order to be completely prepared.

Timothy LaRose, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he can’t wait to perform. He added that the group is ready, despite the nerves that will come from performing on TV.

“It’s intimidating and exciting (getting to see) all the people you see on TV in real life as well,” LaRose said.

Artis Galloway-Landon, a junior in the College of Business Administration, became president of the gospel choir in fall 2014. He said he believes the group’s diversity is one of the reasons it was chosen.

“I think they wanted to capture the fact that we are one of the most diverse and integrated clubs on campus,” Galloway-Landon said. “We are just super excited that we get to share our craft and our song.”

Eubanks became the gospel choir director 13 years ago. He said the group performs a lot on campus and in the community, which helped them catch PBS’s attention. He agrees that the choir’s message and diversity helped make them good candidates to fill the spot.

“Music is just my love,” Eubanks said. “It’s a universal language that everyone can come together and share. This is a historic event, and we have the pleasure of being a part of it.”

 

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About the Writer
Stephanie Harte, Marquette Journal Editor

Stephanie is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in digital media. She is from Darien, Illinois and previously served as executive arts and entertainment...

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